Bears Look to Trump Aces on Hall of Fame Weekend at JQH
 
Guard - Marcus Marshall
 
Guard - Marcus Marshall
 

Jan. 31, 2013  |  MSU Game Notes (PDF)  |  Evansville Game Notes (PDF)

Missouri State Bears (6-16, 4-6) vs. Evansville (13-9, 6-4)

Feb. 2, 2013, JQH Arena (11,000), Springfield, Mo., 2:05 p.m. (CT)

The Ten Count

  • Missouri State and the other 121 teams competing in this year's Ramada BracketBusters event will learn their 2013 opponent on Monday, Feb. 4 at approximately 6 p.m.  Follow the Bears on Facebook and Twitter for the announcement.
  • The Bears shot a higher 3-pt FG Pct. (.550, 11-for-20) than Creighton (.536, 15-for-28), the national leader in 3-pt. accuracy, in Wednesday's game in Omaha. MSU made a season-high 11 3-pointers vs. the Bluejays.
  • Gavin Thurman (Fr., F, Wichita, Kan.), the MVC's Newcomer of the Week, has scored 49 points (16.3 ppg) over the last three ball games, including 19 on Wednesday at No. 17/21 Creighton.
  • MSU and Evansville have played in three straight overtime games in the regular season.
  • Anthony Downing (Sr., Atchison, Kan.) has scored in double figures in 19 straight games at JQH Arena (15.3 ppg).
  • Only five freshman classes in the history of the program have compiled 500+ points:  1963-64 (735), 2003-04 (707), 2012-13 (608), 1991-92 (535) and 1996-97 (511)..
  • Dorrian Williams (RFr., G, Oklahoma City, Okla.) is coming off a career-high 14 point effort at Creighton with 4 treys.
  • In this week's NCAA rankings, Missouri State is 11th (10.9) and Evansville is 25th (11.4) in turnovers per game.
  • Christian Kirk (So., F, Springfield, Mo.) was 5-for-7 from the field for 10 points vs. Creighton on Wednesday, his first double-figure game of the Valley season and seventh of the season.
  • MSU is 6-3 when matching or out-rebounding its opponents this season and 0-13 when it gets beat on the boards.

Setting the Stage

  Missouri State returns home Saturday afternoon to square off with Evansville in a game with significant implications in the Valley standings.
 The Bears are coming off a 91-77 road loss to No. 21 Creighton on Wednesday night (Jan. 30), and today's visit by Evansville is one of just four remaining home games on this year's slate. The Purple Aces have taken the home club to overtime in each of the last three regular-season meetings, winning all three.
 Earlier this season (Jan. 2), the Bears overcame a four-point deficit in the final 15 seconds to force overtime in Evansville. However, the Aces went 5-for-8 from the field and got a key jumper by Ned Cox with 5.4 seconds left in OT to seal the win, 62-59.  Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) had 17 points and 9 rebounds for MSU, while Nathan Scheer (Jr., G/F, Washington, Mo.) had 10 points.
 Marty Simmons' Evansville squad is 13-9 overall and 6-4 in the Valley.  All-MVC standout Colt Ryan (Sr., G, Batesville, Ind.) leads UE with 17.5 points per game with 81 assists and 28 steals.

Head Coach Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 22-32 (.404) in his second season at MSU and 24-55 (.299) in his third season overall as a head coach.  He is 13-15 in the MVC (7-7 at home, 6-8 on the road), 9-16 in non-conference play (6-6 at JQH Arena, 3-6 away and 0-5 at neutral sites).  He is also 13-13 in all home games, 9-14 on the road, and 0-5 at neutral sites. He is 0-4 against UE (0-1 at JQH).
 The 41-year-old Lusk took the reins as MSU's 17th head coach on April 1, 2011. He came to Springfield after seven seasons at Purdue (2004-11), including his last three as associate head coach there.  Now in his 15th season in the coaching profession, Lusk has previous assistant coaching stops at Southwestern Illinois (1996-97), Missouri Southern (1999-2002) and Southern Illinois (2003-04) in addition to a one-year head coaching stint at (Div. III) Dubuque (2002-03). Lusk has played or coached in 10 NCAA Tournaments.
 He returns five lettermen and six squad members from a 16-16 club that tied for third place in the Missouri Valley standings a year ago. His Bears were picked sixth in last year's preseason MVC poll, but finished three spots higher, earning him CollegeSportsMadness.com MVC Coach of the Year.

The Series

  Missouri State leads the all-time series with the Purple Aces, 30-27, a rivalry that dates back to the 1959 NCAA Division II national championship game at Roberts Stadium (in Evansville).
 The Purple Aces have won five straight games in the series by an average margin of 6.6 points and three overtime decisions in that span.
 Missouri State is 17-7 all-time in Springfield against the Aces, including a 3-1 ledger at JQH Arena.  Evansville has not secured a regulation victory over the Bears in Springfield since Jan. 28, 2004.
 Earlier this year in Evansville, MSU overcame a four-point deficit in the final 15 seconds with Nathan Scheer (Jr., G/F, Washington, Mo.) and Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) scoring key buckets in the deciding moments of regulation in a 62-59 overtime win for the Aces. Downing finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds for MSU, while Troy Taylor secured 19 rebounds for UE.

The Opponent

   Evansville head coach Marty Simmons (Evansville, 1987) is 79-97 in his sixth season at UE and 177-170 in his 12th season overall.  He has 11 lettermen and 3 starters back from a 16-16 club that tied for third place in the Valley last season, including All-MVC guard Colt Ryan (Sr., Batesville, Ind.). Ryan averages a team-best 17.5 points with 81 assists, while Ned Cox (Sr., San Antonio, Texas) scores 11.0 points, and newcomer D.J. Balentine (Fr., Kokomo, Ind.) has hit 31 3-pointers.
 Evansville ranks 16th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.37), 25th in turnover margin (+3.6), 25th in turnovers (11.4) and 33rd in assists (15.6).  Individually, Colt Ryan is 11th nationally in FT Pct. (90.2) and is also nationally ranked in scoring (17.2), FG Pct. (.419), assists (3.8), and assist-to-turnover (2.02)
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